Hands On: Heimplanet Transit Line Travel Pack
Anyone who has had to do that airport sprint for a closing flight knows the value of a good shoulder bag/backpack.
One rarely considers the value of stitching, or quality of buckle wear until one is breaking a sweat dodging wandering passengers, hurdling railings and sliding past baggage trolleys.
It is for this, and the professional traveller, that Heimplanet created the likes of its Transit Line Pack.
Being a little larger than your average laptop tote bag, at 530 x 340 x 190 mm, it is still a manageable size that can expand satisfyingly to become an overnight, or two, bag, weighing in at 1.66 kg empty and unadorned.
For this hands-on, we decided the best test was a field test and it was pressed into service for a two-nighter in Zurich, complete with laptop, charger, phone gubbins, notepad, pens, and what clothing and personal effects would be required.
According to the maker, the DYECOSHELL fabric from which the Travel Pack is made, is not only highly durable and robust but also more sustainable. It is claimed that its manufacture uses significantly less water, CO2, energy and chemicals in production compared to conventional options.
The fabric, says the maker, is a construction of dope dyed Nylon and Polypropylene yarns resulting in excellent abrasion resistance with colour fastness. Dope dyed fabrics, it is claimed, save water, CO2, energy and chemicals by adding colorant to the polymer melt during spinning, which substitutes the most polluting process of textile production, namely the dying.
Added to this is the clever design elements which eschews the million-pocket approach for more considered division of space between the clam-shell zipped device compartment, with object organiser, and the main carry space, and front pockets.
The less is more approach follows through in high quality straps, buckles and toggles, which add to overall durability as well as usability.
The Travel Pack comes with a fully adjustable and removable sternum strap and hip belt, with buckles and clasps made from custom aluminium hardware, as well as deeply padded shoulder straps, all with a wide range of adjustability to fit any frame and load combination. This was well borne out in our testing, as the Travel Pack was first deployed over motorcycle gear to get home, before being loaded, as stated above, for the two-night sojourn.
Furthermore, the relative light weight of the Travel Pack was taken advantage of as once checked in to accommodation, it was emptied of clothes and non-essential items to become just a laptop and document bag while out and about.
In this mode, one of the accessories, a set of compression straps, mean you can also attach bulkier items to the outside of the bag when full, utilising the high quality fixings and fasteners. Other accessories include a key chain attachment and sling pack.
Though on the large side, Travel Pack, even fully loaded, easily fits, end-on, into an airline overhead bin, or under a seat in front, making it the ideal short hop tool.
All of this quality and versatility does come at a price, though. Heimplanet says the philosophy is to buy better but buy less. Hence the price is a somewhat salty €220 direct. However, as an inveterate user such things — perhaps in more extreme environments than usual — the price of quality is a given. While it has not happened personally, one has heard of motorcyclists using not-quite-up-to-it back packs at motorway speeds, only for them to inflate, burst and spew contents, such as laptops and tablets, across carriageways.
The Heimplanet Travel pack is expensive, but for the money, you are unlikely to get better quality or capability.
Also available is the Transit Line Roll Top Messenger. Akin to a record bag, this takes the same materials and design philosophy to the should bag format and delivers and equally usable and durable item.
The Roll Top Messenger is available for €140 direct.